The great clownfish experiment

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In May 2020, I decided to turn my Reefer 170 into a clownfish harem. I picked up 10 baby spotcinctus clownfish:

I lost one early on, but the other nine have thrived. There’s been some tussling here and there, as clownfish do, but nothing serious. And boy have they grown:

Problem is, the anemones in that tank have been nothing but trouble. I started with 20-30 BTAs that slowly just withered away and died. Switched over to LTAs, and two were doing well, but just weren’t large enough for the 9 clowns. I picked up a third about a month ago, and it never settled in - earlier this week, it died and took one of the other two out with it. The one that’s left is slowly shrinking and just wasn’t going to be able to support the clowns long term. :(

In my Reefer 525, though, the BTAs are thriving and have all but taken over the right side of the tank:
50B65B56-4D18-45B5-A0ED-5C65D2E7831B.jpeg


The problem is these two monsters, Dora & Diego - my established, mated pair of spotcinctus clownfish, who currently have a fresh clutch:

So I texted @Humblefish and asked, on a scale of “successful harem” to “complete bloodbath”, how bad of an idea would it be to try to move the 9 juvies to the tank with the established pair? I’m almost certain that none of the harem have turned female, they were still working out the pecking order in their tank. And we both agreed that it might actually work, because there are so many that it might just overwhelm the established pair, and there are certainly plenty of nems to go around.

So today, I moved all 9 into an acclimation box, and then set them loose:

And to my surprise, they actually seem okay. Dora isn’t fixating on any one newbie in particular, and is actually letting one of the young clowns help tend the eggs!

I’ll keep everyone posted on how this goes, but I’m really impressed with how the initial introduction went.
 
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Jessican

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Amazing! Why do you think the harem tank anemones never prospered?
I really don’t know, I’ve had abysmal luck with nems in any tank except the main one. They sure do thrive in the big tank, though!
 

Humblefish

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I hope this continues to work out for you. I think your pair of clowns getting overwhelmed with so many newcomers at one time is the trick here. They don't know which new clownfish to fight off, so they just deal with it. :p Hopefully one of the males doesn't start to turn female anytime soon, because that's when the trouble will start. :rolleyes:
 

Jessican

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I hope this continues to work out for you. I think your pair of clowns getting overwhelmed with so many newcomers at one time is the trick here. They don't know which new clownfish to fight off, so they just deal with it. :p Hopefully one of the males doesn't start to turn female anytime soon, because that's when the trouble will start. :rolleyes:
From what I understand about clownfish dynamics, since there’s an established female already, none of the others should change, right? The one she’s letting help tend the eggs is the one I figured was most likely to be female if any of them had changed yet, so he must still be male at this point. 🤷‍♀️
 

Humblefish

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From what I understand about clownfish dynamics, since there’s an established female already, none of the others should change, right? The one she’s letting help tend the eggs is the one I figured was most likely to be female if any of them had changed yet, so he must still be male at this point. 🤷‍♀️
Because you have multiple nems, it's possible one will change to female, pair up with one of the males, and want to start laying clutches in a different area. However, this usually only works out (when another pair is already present) on opposite sides of a 6-8 foot tank.
 

Jessican

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Because you have multiple nems, it's possible one will change to female, pair up with one of the males, and want to start laying clutches in a different area. However, this usually only works out (when another pair is already present) on opposite sides of a 6-8 foot tank.
Ah okay. We shall see!
 

Jessican

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Jessican

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I wonder if Dora will teach them the ways of the clownshark and instead of just two fish attacking me during tank maintenance, there will be 11 o_O
 

Jessican

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Day 1: we’re a little tattered this morning, but that’s not really a surprise. I’m sure that moving them into a tank with an established pair completely upset whatever hierarchy the young ones had already established, and now they have to re-find their pecking order under the dominant pair.

Everyone ate enthusiastically this morning, no one is hiding or breathing heavy, and all 11 are accounted for. They’re even all venturing out and exploring the other side of the tank.

I’ll be dosing StressGuard to help heal up their fins quickly, and will be keeping a close eye on everyone to see if I need to start up peroxide dosing again.
 

Jessican

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Very cool. I’m a clownfish fan and that last video was awesome. What’s your plan for the 170 now?
I’m going to give it a few weeks to make sure everybody settles in okay, and then I think I might get a mantis shrimp for the 170. :)
 

Jessican

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Nice plan. I’ve always wanted a separate tank but for a lion fish.
That was my other thought, maybe a fuzzy dwarf lionfish. I wonder if a lionfish and a peacock mantis could be tankmates? :unsure: Since they're a smasher and not a spearer, the CUC should be in more danger than a lionfish. Hmm...

They are really pretty clowns
Thank you! Spotcinctus clowns are the best clowns :love:
 
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